Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25-27 )
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GOOD MORNING! The last two weeks I wrote about honoring parents; this week I'd like to write about nurturing children. Recently, I was told the story of a middle aged man at his father's death bed. All of his life the father had criticized his son. Nothing his son could do was ever good enough for the father. Yet, here is the son at the father's bedside, their last moments together on this earth. The son is crying and says, "Dad, I have always loved you." His father replies, "You were always a loser. You could never do anything right. You've always disappointed me." And then the father dies.
Why do we have children? The Torah tells us, "Be fruitful and multiply,
fill the earth ..." (Genesis 1:28). Children are our link with eternity,
our way to extend beyond our few years to make an impact on the world and
destiny - to perfect the world and better mankind. We need to nurture
to help them meet their potential. As Rebbitzen Lori Palatnik once wrote,
"Hold their hands so that they can walk, let go so they can run, cheer so
they can fly." Constantly criticizing children doesn't work (it didn't
for us, why would it work for them?!). Reinforcing and praising their
positive actions DOES work. So, here are close to 100 Ways to Praise Your
Child (and your child can be of ANY age!):
FABULOUS • WOW • WAY TO GO • SUPER • YOU'RE SPECIAL • OUTSTANDING • EXCELLENT • GREAT • GOOD • NEAT • WELL DONE • REMARKABLE • I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT • I'M PROUD OF YOU • SUPER STAR • NICE WORK • LOOKING GOOD • YOU'RE ON TOP OF IT • BEAUTIFUL • NOW YOU'RE FLYING • YOU'RE CATCHING ON • NOW YOU'VE GOT IT • YOU'RE INCREDIBLE • BRAVO • YOU'RE FANTASTIC • HURRAH FOR YOU • YOU'RE ON TARGET • YOU'RE ON YOUR WAY • HOW SMART • GOOD JOB • DYNAMITE • YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL • YOU'RE UNIQUE • NOTHING CAN STOP YOU NOW • GOOD FOR YOU • YOU'RE A WINNER • REMARKABLE JOB • BEAUTIFUL WORK • SPECTACULAR • YOU'RE PRECIOUS • GREAT JOB • MAGNIFICENT • MARVELOUS • TERRIFIC • SUPERB • PHENOMENAL • YOU'RE SENSATIONAL • SUPER WORK • CREATIVE JOB • EXCEPTIONAL • YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE • YOU'RE A GOOD LISTENER • GREAT IMAGINATION • TREMENDOUS EFFORT • YOU CARE • OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE • YOU'RE IMPORTANT • YOU MEAN A LOT TO ME • YOU MAKE ME HAPPY • YOU BRIGHTEN MY DAY • I RESPECT YOU • YOU MEAN THE WORLD TO ME • YOU'RE A JOY • YOU'RE A TREASURE • YOU'RE WONDERFUL • AWESOME • A+ JOB • YOU'RE THE BEST • ... and never say "goodbye" without saying I LOVE YOU!
Q & A: WHAT IS LAG B'OMER AND HOW IS IT CELEBRATED?
According to Jewish cosmology, the day begins with nightfall. That is why all holidays start at night after the stars can be seen. Thursday night, May 26th, begins the holiday of Lag B'Omer. You may have seen advertisements for picnics from synagogues and JCC's.
Lag B'Omer is the 33rd day of the Omer, the period between Pesach and Shavuot. On this day the plague which was killing Rabbi Akiva's disciples stopped. It is also the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the author of the Zohar, the Kabbalah, the book of Jewish Mysticism. Tradition has it that the day of his demise was filled with a great light of endless joy through the secret wisdom which he revealed to his students in the Zohar.
In Israel there are huge bonfires across the country. From Pesach onwards the children gather fallen branches and old tires and build pyres often 20 and 30 feet high. Then as the sky grows dark, they are lit and the sky is filled with flames - and smoke. (I have often wondered what the reaction is to the pictures from the US and Russian Spy satellites.)
The fires are symbolic both of the light of wisdom Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai brought into the world and as a "yahrzeit candle" to the memory of his passing. Haircuts and weddings take place on this date and there is much festivity including dancing, singing and music.
Why the name Lag B'Omer? Every Hebrew letter has a numerical value. An aleph = 1, a bet = 2 and so forth. The two Hebrew letters lamed (30) and gimmel (3) = 33. So Lag B'Omer means the 33rd day of the Omer. [The word "Omer" literally means "sheaf" and refers to the offering of the barley sheaf in the Temple on the second day of Pesach marking the harvesting of the barley crop. From that day until Shavuot (the anniversary of the giving of the Torah and the Festival of the Harvest) is called the period of the Counting of the Omer. It is a time for reflection upon how we view and treat our fellow Jews and what we can learn from the tragedies that have befallen us because of unfounded (self-justified) hatred for our fellow Jews.
Torah Portion of the Week
The Torah portion sets forth the blessings that you will see in this world in response to your deeds.
It then continues with the Tochachah, words of admonition: "If you will not listen to Me and will not perform all of these commandments..." There are seven series of seven punishments each. Understand that God does not punish for punishment's sake; He wants to get our attention so that we will introspect, recognize our errors and correct our ways. God does not wish to destroy us and will never annul His covenant with us. This is the Almighty's guarantee to the Jewish people:
" ... I will not grow so
disgusted with them nor so tired of them that I would destroy them and break My covenant with them, since I am the Lord their God." (Deut. 26:44-45)
He wants to prevent us from becoming so assimilated that we disappear as a nation. I highly recommend reading Leviticus 26:14 - 45.
The portion ends with instructions regarding gifts to the temple, valuation and redemption of animals, houses, fields ... and lastly, the second tithe and tithing animals. And thus ends the Book of Leviticus!
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And a man shall stumble upon his brother ..." (Leviticus 26:37)
Rashi cites the Sifra (a midrash) which explains this verse thus: "One shall stumble through the iniquity of another, for all the people of Israel are responsible for each other."
Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, the Chofetz Chaim, related the following analogy:
Mr. Cohen loaned Mr. Green a large sum of money. Mr. Shapiro agreed to guarantee the loan; he would pay Mr. Cohen if Mr. Green will be unable to pay. If Mr. Green were investing his money in a business that was sure to lose money, Mr. Shapiro would definitely do everything in his power to prevent Mr. Green from becoming involved in that business. Mr. Shapiro knows that if Mr. Green wastes his money, the obligation to repay the loan will be his.
"The same applies to preventing others from transgressing," said the Chofetz Chaim. "If someone has the ability to stop another person from transgressing and fails to do so, he is held liable for that offense. Therefore, we must do everything we can to prevent transgressions."
CANDLE LIGHTING - May 27:
(or go to http://www.aish.com/shabbat/candlelighting.asp)
Chicago 7:55 Guatemala 6:07 Hong Kong 6:42
Honolulu 6:48 J'Burg 5:06 London 8:42
Los Angeles 7:38 Melbourne 4:50 Mexico City 6:54
Miami 7:46 Moscow 8:36 New York 7:58
Singapore 6:50 Toronto 7:28
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
It's never too late to be
what you might have been.
-- George Eliot